Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 02/28/22

A tale of two worlds. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. 

Okay, I didn’t write that. I’m just awed by how much Charles Dickens‘ opening passage of A Tale of Two Cities speaks to our current headlines. Is the proper response to the events of this past week to be fearful of a world spinning toward possible nuclear war? Or should we be inspired by the courage of those putting it all on the line in defense of freedom? This Democracy Now! discussion with Physicians for Social Responsibility co-founder Dr. Ira Helfand, whose article Ukraine and the Threat of Nuclear War was recently published by The Nation, certainly raises some sober points we ought not lose sight of.

Meanwhile, some on the political left are wondering why those we have traditionally thought of as anti-authoritarian conservatives (i.e. Republicans) now seem to sympathetic to Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. My thoughts on that, as well as the question headlined in this post follow the conversation below.

IMHO: Stephen Colbert and his Circus  companions are wrong in there basic premise that conservatives in any way have supported or do support Putin over the US or even President Biden. In fact, one major reason conservatives oppose Biden is precisely because of how his policies have strengthened Putin’s hand and have enabled him to prosecute his vicious assault on the innocent people of Ukraine – while also pushing the Russian dictator into an unholy alliance with the profoundly anti-democratic Chinese Communist Party.
From the beginning, Biden has talked tough against Putin while gifting him with policies that couldn’t be more meek – such as severely hindering America’s oil and gas production capabilities while inexplicably removing American opposition to the Nord Stream Pipeline System that has pumped Russian oil to Europe thereby increasing European dependency and, in effect, funding Putin’s military. Add to that the disastrous US bug out from Afghanistan and the Biden Administration’s bizarre unwillingness to defend our own southern border and it’s no wonder that Putin concluded that rolling over Ukraine’s border would be met with minimal American resistance at most. Then there’s his incredibly weak response to violent crime domestically, as well as seeing America tying itself up in knots over divisive distractions like Critical Race Theory and the proper assignment of pronouns. It’s really hard to see how, in virtually every area, Biden’s policies haven’t led America’s adversaries, including to Putin, to see us as a nation that won’t even fight for itself, let alone its allies.

As for for supposed Putin puppet Donald Trump, I have a lot of problems with the way he often phrased things but the former president had the sense to know that the way to deal with an ego maniac (perhaps it takes one to know one) is to avoid unnecessary public confrontations and attempts to humiliate while, through actions and policies, projecting strength (i.e. opposing the Russian pipeline, firing missiles into Russian-ally Syria following its apparent chemical assault on its own citizens and approving the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine after the Obama Administration failed to). Thugs respect strong actions not Barney Fife-like posturing. BTW, you really can’t help but wonder how Colbert’s Circus would have reacted if it was Trump and not Obama caught on this tape. The answer is obvious and is why their so-called analysis lacks any credibility whatsoever.

As for the issue of the moment and the  subject of the headline above, is the defense of freedom in Ukraine worth bringing the world to the brink of possible nuclear war? The answer is one of those great contradictions of life. It is true that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. It is also true that bullies will never stop until they are stood up to – and a world without freedom is not a world we want to live in. So, what happens with insatiable evil meets immovable moral resolve? Those on the side of moral resolve should steadfastly do everything within their power to avoid violence but, in end, evil has to be resisted. What happens may be beyond our ability to control but it is within God‘s. Prayer and faith will see us through.

One final note. On the opposite end of Colbert’s side the political spectrum, in Florida yesterday the Conservative Political Action Conference inducted singer Lee Greenwood (who I interviewed last August) into the CPAC Hall of Fame. Greenwood has had many hits over the years but he is perhaps best known for his timeless ode to freedom God Bless The U.S.A. As I listen to the song today, I think to myself God Bless the U.S.A. and God Bless Ukraine.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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